Re-Open with Optimism and Act NOW
Integrate Digital Engagement into Strategic Plan
Importance of Utilizing CRM Systems
METALCON Co-Founder and CEO, Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, in partnership with the Metal Construction Association and Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations, have begun shifting the focus away from crisis-mode to how the industry can “build back better.” Special guests Paul Lechiara, owner of East Coast Metal Roofing, and Bobby Darnell, principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., joined the discussion to offer their sales and marketing strategies implemented during the lockdown, which have proven to be successful.
Highlights from Frank Stasiowski, METALCON Co-Founder and CEO
- Emphasized the “prediction” made in his IMPACT 2030 book: “We will see an economic set back in the early 2020s, followed by a boom with unfettered innovation, including innovation in technology and also in management and marketing processes.”
- Some news as it relates to travel/tourism and events industry: McCormick Place (Chicago’s convention center) is planning for a July 1 reopening date and cruise ships announced starting back as early as August 1.
- Frank opened this week’s event with the polling questions to get a “pulse” of the industry since a week ago. Responses to polling questions are all consistent with Frank’s own assessment of the current state of the industry.
POLLING QUESTIONS (“live” questions asked during event to poll participants)
PQ #1: When you return to “normal,” will your company maintain any current practices such as working remotely that it did not do before the crisis? 53% will maintain new practices, 29% said maybe and 18% no
PQ #2: Compared to last week, are you more, less or same optimistic? 52% report more, 40% same and 8% reporting less
PQ #3: Do you foresee investing heavily in new technology coming out of the crisis as a part of growing your business? 72% yes; 28% no
PQ#4: As you open or re-open, do you have a plan for instituting new health safety procedures for your staff? 83% yes; 17% no
Highlights from Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations
- “Tough times never last but tough people do.” Rob shared this quote equating it to the unique toughness of the personalities in the construction industry.
- Commented that his company isn’t just “going thru this crisis … they are growing thru this crisis. S-5! isn’t waiting to see what happens, but creating instead.” He feels the crisis has energized his team.
- Referenced MBMA’s first-quarter results and while he wasn’t at liberty to share the full report, he said that overall Q1 year-over-year was up. This is consistent with the performance of his company and others based on a strong January and February.
- All future plans include the continued use of digital technology they started to use during this crisis. Highlighted use of online webinars is not only beneficial to train their external customers but also their internal staff.
Highlights from Paul Lechiara, owner of East Coast Metal Roofing, a direct to consumer metal roofing company based in Massachusetts.
- Paul was invited to METALCONLive! based on his impressive advertising campaign throughout the “lockdown.”
- Paul’s company was able to “generate nearly 700 leads last month during the heart of the lockdown, which led to 139 appointments and at approximately a 40% closure rate, equated to 1.38 million in sales.”
- Paul shared “As soon as the crisis hit, he shifted his marketing strategy from radio to television advertising knowing people would be home watching the news.” Normally he wouldn’t spend the extra dollars on television advertising, but said, “sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”
- Social media has been another key driver of sales during this time; e.g. Facebook ads, Instagram, and mutual “tagging” with his manufacturers. Key for social media is to keep content current and fresh.
- Emphasized the importance of having a CRM system; for example, he was able to dedicate one sales manager to follow up on overlooked leads in their CRM system and out of 100 leads, already has secured seven appointments.
- A key learning is to constantly “think outside the box” and the “execution matters.” Paul commented, “ideas will fall flat if you don’t follow through with the execution.”
Highlights from Bobby Darnell, principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., a consulting firm in the A/E/C Industry helping clients build new business through smarter business development.
- Piggy-backed off Frank’s message of “positivity” and said expressing optimism has been their focus with customers.
- Guiding their customers to take away something new from this crisis (e.g., Zoom technology).
- The use of digital technology may finally prove to be a big “game-changer” in recruitment. Out of necessity, interviews are being conducted “on-line” and proving to be effective. Bobby sees this continuing post-crisis, as it helps offset the high costs of flying candidates in for interviews.
- Also seeing the effectiveness of employees working from home so this may open up a new pool of candidates companies would not have considered in the past if they lived too far away.
- Emphasized the importance of utilizing a CRM system for business development.
LIVE questions … REAL TIME!
Frank asked the guests for their viewpoints on the future of tradeshows/conventions:
Paul doesn’t see them going away but expects to see less “hands-on” demonstrations. Suggested hand sanitizer at each booth, digital media, digital brochures showcasing producing information, and an app that captures the lead and follows up immediately with digital marketing information. Rob said, “They already bring their own scanning devices versus renting one at shows.” All agreed digital won’t fully replace personal face-to-face contact.
If you aren’t currently using a CRM system, should you and which one?
All guests essentially said “run, don’t walk” to get on board with a CRM system. Paul mentioned that he didn’t use one for his first year in business and his business definitely lagged behind. Bobby works with clients on the best CRM system for their needs. Said that 80% of what most CRM systems do is the same, but it’s the 20% differential that separates one from the next. Integrating a CRM system is the single biggest thing his company does for clients. It is the “game-changer” for the business development side. He continued to say the “automated part of a CRM is key; the AI (artificial intelligence) component tracks how to manage follow-up and puts it on “auto-pilot.” Rob commented that it’s an opportunity to bring in “new talent” into your company and have someone with the skill set to manage and oversee the CRM system.
METALCONLive! is YOUR online weekly business-boosting broadcast that connects you with other metal construction company owners, contractors, fabricators, suppliers, and experts for the strategies that enable us all to BUILD BACK BETTER.
The conversation continues THIS Wednesday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. EST, as Frank and Rob will be joined by special guests, Ken Gieske from McElroy Metals and Ray Smith from Australia-based AppliCad Software, to explore the following questions and more:
- What is McElroy doing to be proactive, change, adapt and position their company to come out ahead?
- What will they be doing differently post-pandemic than they did before the crises?
- How have businesses in other countries responded to the health crises and what we can learn from them?
All FREE, all LIVE and ONLINE, all focused on helping your business THRIVE in the next normal.
For more information about Rob Haddock, check out his recent articles: “Accept the Things You Cannot Change” in Modern Metals Magazine and “Seize The Opportunity Presented By These Uncertain Times” in DesignandBuildwithMetal.com.
Click HERE for a list of S-5!’s upcoming FREE Webinars; Rob will present Qualifying Snow Retention Systems this Thursday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Want answers on how to “re-open” your business? Download Frank’s Handout: “38 Questions to Ask-and Answer-When Designing Your Reopening Plan.”
Download Danny Kerr’s “Coronavirus Leadership Playbook” – https://www.btacademy.com/download2020/ – Use Code: MC0429. Danny Kerr was our special guest during our May 6 METALCONLive! and has appeared at several METALCON shows as a guest speaker.
Planning is in full swing for METALCON, scheduled for October 21-23 in Las Vegas, and we are excited to announce brand new programs including the “Architect’s Experience” and “Women Connect.” PRE-REGISTER now to be the first to know when registration officially opens next month.